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The Pirates of Penzance

From 12 critic and 14 member reviews
Members say: Delightful, Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Great staging

About the show

Swimming pools, twinkly lights, a well-stocked Tiki Bar and beach balls welcome the audience to The Hypocrites' raucous and utterly zany beach-party adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic operetta. More…

The entire audience joins the cast on the stage-beach, immersed in the action alongside sappy pirates, dewy-eyed damsels, bumbling bobbies and one very stuffy Major General. It is a spunky model of a (post)modern major musical.

The New York Times

“This ‘Pirates’ turns out to be the most charmingly relaxed production of a Gilbert and Sullivan work that I’ve come across...An antic exuberance is built into the form and content of Gilbert and Sullivan shows. And the ensemble here, which doubles as its own band, channels that spirit with an infectious blitheness that requires no footnotes....You are sure to feel a joyful complicity with what’s occurring onstage." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"This performance is exhilarating...The adaptation hits all of the major plot points and musical moments while seamlessly infusing witty pop culture references. Director Sean Graney has adapted and staged the piece with abandon...The actors are a tight musical and vocal ensemble with effusive energy...It is one thing to watch such a well-executed show, it is quite another delightful thing to participate in it so closely. It is the perfect antidote to cold winter days." Full Review

NewCity Stage

for a previous production "This production of 'Pirates' is as tightly and artistically controlled, as professionally faultless an affair as you will see anywhere...Graney is an amazing artist. There is method—and cunning, brilliant, astonishing insight—in his madness...I marveled at the split-second timing, the perfect sense of pace, the clarity of enunciation, the inspired word-play by many of the troupe on top of Gilbert’s wittiest puns and rhymes...See this play. Tell your friends about it." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

for a previous production "One cheeky take on Gilbert and Sullivan’s century-old satire...A delightful, summer beach party themed, breezy affair...A Looney Tunes musical that remains somewhat true and intact to the original music...The principal player and the full ensemble are all impishly spirited, playing their roles with a deep affection...'Pirates of Penzance' will easily charm you with its devil-may-care attitude...The venerable duo of Gilbert and Sullivan were not harmed, but treated with care and affection." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

for a previous production "One wild ride of a show...This show practically leapt off of the immersive stage. The energy level of the cast stayed at such an intensity, it was almost too much to take in...I don’t want to spoil the frantic fun of the entire experience by exposing their little flourishes and embellishments, but this is a savvy and sharp group of comic actor/singer/musicians; under Graney’s direction, they not only get the G & S bits right, they add some hilarious touches." Full Review

Chicago Theater Beat

for a previous production "A uniquely stylized, fast-paced rendition of the Gilbert and Sullivan classic...Despite the many quirks that The Hypocrites bring to the opera, the production retains all the charm that made Gilbert and Sullivan such beloved luminaries of contemporary musical theatre...The snappy comedy, the witty dialogue, and the clever turns of plot are all here...This is a tight cast of incredible talent...If you want to see some invigorating theatre, go see 'The Pirates of Penzance.'" Full Review

Chicago Theatre Review

for a previous production "Thoroughly enjoyable, filled with audience participation and overflowing with contemporary references...More madness, mayhem and musical magic occurs in this tropical isle-inspired, lightning-paced production than audiences can even comprehend...The G&S purist may find this uniquely inventive production not to his liking. The majority of theatergoers will revel in the manic fun and unexpected frivolity and musicality Graney has brought to the theatre." Full Review

Chicago Tribune

for a previous production "It's hard not to have big-time fun at this carnival of a 'Pirates,' which lands in one of rare but sweet spots where a fairly outlandish off-Loop conceit meshes deliciously with the original material...The show is cast with exuberant young actors and musicians whose singing ranges from passable to pretty decent...I think this truly terrific conception would be yet funnier with a full compliment of operetta-trained singers." Full Review

The Arts Fuse

for a previous production "Despite the aura of 'Gidget Goes Hawaiian' that surrounds the show and the profusion of cute props like rubber duckies and ukeleles, the ensemble can be forgiven because they and the artistic staff have the smarts not to mess with the original score and lyrics...Graney arranges the mayhem with a sure touch, keeping the musical values of the songs intact...It’s not always necessary to be enlightened by theater. Sometimes it’s more than enough to have a rollicking good time." Full Review

The Mercury News

for a previous production "You might say this is a very spunky model of a postmodern musical...A giddy journey through immersive theater that turns the Gilbert and Sullivan chestnut into an outrageous evening of frisky song and silliness...The cheekiest aspect of Sean Graney’s staging is how cleverly he plays fast and loose with the somewhat stodgy Gilbert and Sullivan canon...A holiday show for all seasons that actually seems joyous instead of merely entertaining." Full Review

Culture Vulture

for a previous production "Upon entering, one is immersed in the joyous, colorful, tuneful, noisy world of the Hypocrites....All the members of the Hypocrites belt out Gilbert and Sullivan tunes with clear, loud voices and lots of heart...They put a tremendous amount of energy into their performances, such that the audience can’t help but be carried along. This translates into a cheery carefree evening to enjoy with friends, family and children of all ages." Full Review

Everything Musicals

for a previous production "A frothy atmospheric production complete with beach balls, picnic tables, and plastic wading pools. The atmosphere is true to the playful spirit of the original show, while adding some lovingly ridiculous elements of the group's own devising...The real fun here comes from the spirited and arch direction by Sean Graney, and the lovingly over-the-top performances...'Pirates' doesn't try to be anything beyond what it is, which is a rollicking good time." Full Review

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Quirky

See it if You like immersive theatre and Gilbert and Sullivan.

Don't see it if You like traditional theatre.

Clever, Enchanting, Entertaining, Funny, Great staging

See it if you want to see a Broadway musical comedy that doesn't get to Broadway

Don't see it if you don't like Gilbert and Sullivan

Also The show is now closed.... Read more Read less

Delightful, Funny, Great staging, Quirky

See it if you want a fun time, you like Gilbert and Sullivan and like corny humor and great singing.

Don't see it if you're looking for something deep and dark.

Great singing, Great staging, Monumental, Funny

See it if you like pirates.

Don't see it if you don't like long plays.

Also The dancing was beautiful. I saw it with Kevin Kline and Linda Rondsta... Read more Read less

Delightful, Clever, Funny, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if Innovative and fun. About 1/4 of the audience sits on stage. The actors improvise extra silliness on top of an already silly show.

Don't see it if You don't like farce. You don't want liberties taken with the original script and music. Immersive/improvised elements are not your thing.

Delightful, Hilarious, Clever, Fluffy, Not your father's pop

See it if This was certainly different. When you see through the antics, the sight gages and people constantly moving around, it actually was a

Don't see it if fairly traditional rendition. If you can wrap your head around the concept of the spirit of G&S, you will enjoy it. it is a great

Also introduction for kids. Don't see it if you are a G&S purist. One glari... Read more Read less

Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great fun

See it if You are a fan of Gilbert & Sullivan and want to see a zany, fun version.This is best enjoyed by those who already know the operetta.

Don't see it if You don't like G&S or have never seen a 'classic' version of Pirates. Warning: NOT for the purists!

Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Great writing, Funny

See it if you like Gilbert & Sullivan and wish there were more companies performing them. Two hours of clever silliness is much appreciated these days

Don't see it if you're not a fan of brilliant silliness and contrived plots or if under-powered singing will ruin it for you.

Also Oh joy, oh rapture, I've long loved the New York Gilbert and Sullivan ... Read more Read less

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great staging

See it if you enjoy a very different production of Pirates of Penzance. You will be on stage and close to the action. Very funny and unusual.

Don't see it if you don't like Gilbert and Sullivan or only a traditional interpretation.

Also You need to climb down many stairs to get to the stage so if you have ... Read more Read less

Great singing, Entertaining, Delightful, Fun, Clever

See it if you want to have a fun night listening to very good singers and musicians who themselves are having fun on stage.

Don't see it if you only are interested in the original score and costuming

Also I had a smile on my face the whole time. The singing was great. I espe... Read more Read less

Clever, Entertaining, Engaging, Great singing/musicianship, Delightful

See it if You enjoy creative reimagining of classic theater. This is immersive & silly fun w very charning & talented performers.

Don't see it if Are G&S purist, hate engaging w actors, or a particularly frenetic and musically altered POP. Must b willing to enjoy yourself.

Also If you have not paid for a chair on the stage, you will be sitting on ... Read more Read less

Immersive, Goofy, Broad

See it if you're looking for Gilbert and Sullivan "light" and are not a purist. You're interested in seeing a fun, silly, grab-bag of a production.

Don't see it if You're looking for a strong production that makes the most of this classic operetta

Also As a big G&S fan, I had high hopes for this show: an immersive, tiki-t... Read more Read less

Stripped-down operetta taken to a new level of frolic

See it if an 80 minute romp on a beach with shortened G&S songs played with guitars and banjos. Streamlined plot played by versatile comic actors

Don't see it if you are a G&S purist. But it's a lot of fun. The lighting and sound design are clever, but I could not clearly make out the "Major-General"

Also Get there early -- they sing Beatles and other pop songs on the stage ... Read more Read less

Campy, Frantic, Well sung, Less-would-be-more, Don't change melodies!

See it if you'd like a broad, shticky POP. Mostly good voices. High energy. NOT classic G&S; signif'ly reimagined. Lyrics hard to hear. Lines changed.

Don't see it if you love Sullivan's music. It's mostly played on string instruments. And melodies are CHANGED. This is heresy. Why mess w wonderful music?

Also This POP grew on me. For quite awhile I was upset that they changed th... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (19)